Spirits of Voodoo
The Loa are a group of deities and spirits associated with the practice of Voodoo. Most are based upon traditional African gods, saints within the Catholic Church, or a mixture of both. Much like the gods of Olympus these deities exist in many different fictionalized comic book universes. Two major examples are the presence of Papa Legba in the history of Marvel's Brother Voodoo, and appearances by many of the loa in stories about DC/Wildstorm's Voodoo.
Families of Loa
Within the loa exist many distinct families with their own specific powers and characteristics:
- The Rada Loa are generally the older, more beneficent spirits who are associated with the gods of Africa. They include Legba, Loko, Ayizan, Anaisa Pye, Dhamballah Wedo and Ayida-Weddo, Erzulie Freda, La Sirène, and Agwe. Their traditional color is white.
- The Petro Loa are often the more aggressive and warlike loa, and are associated with Haiti and the New World. They include Ezili Dantor, Marinette, and Maitre Carrefour. Their traditional color is red.
- The Kongo Loa originated from the Congo. They also include Marinette, a fierce and much feared female loa.
- The Nago Load originated from Nigeria and originate from Yoruba tradition. Many of the spirits in this family would be titled Orishas is of similar religions (such as west African Ifa and Cuban Santeria). The many Ogoun spirits are all said Orishas, such as Ogou Shango, Ogou Feray, Ogou Batala, etc.
- The Ghede Loa are the spirits of the dead. They are traditionally led by Papa Ghede, and his darker incarnation, Baron Samedi. Along with his wife, Maman Brigitte, they bare many children, Baron La Croix, Baron Cimitière and Baron Kriminel. The Ghede as a family are loud, rude (although rarely to the point of real insult), sexual, and fun. They have died already and therefore have nothing to fear, displayed in acts such as eating glass and raw chillis. Their traditional colors are black and purple.
(Note: within the Wildstorm Universe, particularly in the 1998 Voodoo miniseries written by Alan Moore, Baron Samedi is grouped with the Rada Loa, rather than the Ghede Loa. The Ghede Loa do not make an appearance at all within this miniseries).